Chicago Blackhawks v St. Louis Blues

I specifically waited until this morning to put together a recap because I was so pissed off last night that I knew everything I wrote would be pure emotional rage with very little logic sprinkled in. The Blues fans on meth reading this know what I’m talking about.

The Blackhawks entered last night’s showdown in St. Louis with a 17-0-1 record when scoring at least four goals, with the lone defeat being that 6-5 OT loss to Tampa Bay way back on Oct. 24. I was doing nothing short of dreaming up ways to make fun of the Blues after the ‘Hawks went up 2-0 and 3-1 in the first period, figuring they’d tack on a couple more and send Nakis to the St. Louis-area bars with insults in tow. It looked much like the Colorado laugher from the night before.

Then the first two-goal lead evaporated. Brandon Saad and Brent Seabrook gave the ‘Hawks another, but they blew that, too. What was even more enraging was how quickly it happened, with Tarasenko and Berglund scoring goals they probably shouldn’t have.

Antti Raanta in a shootout? We can only hope we don’t have to see that happen again. To say he’s bad in the tiebreaker would be as nice as telling Ken Hitchcock he looks fine the way he is. And just like that, the Blackhawks pissed away three separate two-goal leads and handed two points to the hated Blues, who have won four straight in the series.

But that’s where I’m going to draw the line right now when it comes to these two teams. I’m going to jump ahead to May, because we all know there’s a good chance the Blues and ‘Hawks will be battling it out in the playoffs.

Right now, there’s no team in the NHL that can beat the Blackhawks 4 out of 7 over the course of a week and half. That includes the Blues. Yes, they give the ‘Hawks fits, even without Alexander Steen and his 24 goals. That’s a top-tier team even further motivated when the defending champs and their rivals come to town. There’s no question a playoff series against St. Louis would have our assholes puckered tightly.

However, I’m not going to get emotional and reactionary over a game in late Decemeber – this morning, anyway – even if it is against the Blues. Maybe that’s because most of my emotion is sitting with the Bears-Packers game later, but I digress.

Yeah, I could go on and on about plenty of things. Raanta, while he’s been overall solid, needs more time either behind Crawford or in the AHL. Q’s lineup decisions left (leave) something to be desired and were downright upsetting at times. Seabrook is doing his best to play his way off Team Canada this season, including looking like something out of a Bugs Bunny cartoon on two clearing attempts that led to Berglund’s tying goal.

I could even discuss the officiating, including Barrett Jackman’s slash on Jonathan Toews on the breakaway in overtime that wasn’t called. While I’m not trying to sugarcoat the fact that the Blackhawks basically handed the Blues two points while completely pissing away one themselves, I’m just going to take a deep breath and chalk it up as a shitty game at the end of December.

Because really, what else should we do? Scream and kick and piss and moan and bitch and whine about it? There are problems, yes. There are things that need to be fine-tuned and smoothed over before the postseason roles around, yes. But even with last night’s loss, I still stand by the fact that there’s no team in this league right now I can pick out that will beat the ‘Hawks 4 out of 7. And honestly, that’s what really matters – even now. The Blackhawks are so good that the regular season has, to a point, become just a 6 1/2-month distraction until playoff time.

Right now – until they prove otherwise – the Blues remind me of those late-’80s, early-’90s Cleveland Cavaliers teams that Michael Jordan famously manhandled when it mattered most. They did just enough to piss you off – in the regular season and playoffs – and left you with some doubt that the Bulls were as good as everyone thought they were. Then, Jordan took over and everyone in Cleveland suffered yet another let down because they got their hopes up with a couple of wins here and there. And that’s how I envision St. Louis feeling in June when the Blues are watching the end of the playoffs with David Backes’ dogs.

Losing to the Blues always will be depressing, but it certainly won’t be as sad as when Ken Hitchcock’s mom dies at the end of What’s Eating Gilbert Grape.